My Life in Africa

Vladimir Grigoryevich Tretchikoff


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Today I went to a great art exhibition. I like to keep involved in cultural projects going on in my city. This exhibit was a collection of works by a famous and controversial Russian painter named Vladimir Grigoryevich Tretchikoff. Iziko National Art Gallery is exhibiting his works, right here in Cape Town. The art gallery sits in what locals call the ‘Company Gardens’ – a large public park and botanical garden set in the heart of Cape Town. Tretchikoff was actually one of the most commercially successful artists of all time and he is most well-known for his painting “Chinese Girl” (or “The Green Lady”) – one of the biggest-selling art prints of all time. From what I understand, he was born in Russia and spent some time in China and Malaysia before his later life in South Africa. He painted realistic figures and portraits, still life, as well as animals. He worked in oil, watercolour, ink, charcoal and pencil and his reproduction prints have been sold worldwide in massive numbers…. Apparently, because the reproductions were so popular, it was said that Tretchikoff was second only to Picasso in his popularity! I didn’t know any of this; which is why I loved it.

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